Astounding Gaps in Marketing Strategy

February 13, 2016

Recently I had the opportunity to audit the marketing department of a company. Some time ago I developed a process for doing these audits, based on my RAPID Marketing Model that I’ve used for over 10 years in our consulting.

I’m not going to mention names, to protect the guilty!

There were experienced marketers working in this business, and with several products competing in various market segments, the company was performing reasonably well overall.

But there were performance gaps, some brands were not doing as well as they should have been, despite having fairly significant budgets in the millions of dollars for individual brands.

In performing this audit, I came across some astounding gaps in the strategic marketing of the business and thought I’d share some of these gaps with you so you can avoid the mistakes being made.

1. No plans – the marketing team were creating and implementing various marketing campaigns for these brands. But there were no written strategic marketing plans! Yes that’s right – senior marketers – no annual marketing plans. No structured plans, no summary of customers, no segmentation and targeting. Nothing.

2. No research – the marketing team had not researched their customers in over 3 years. They were operating off assumptions of their own creation. The marketing was not being created based on any real understanding of what the customers needed and wanted from that product segment.

3. No measurement – not one of the marketing programs being implemented was set up with any objective end goal measurement. Sure, the number of TARP’s being delivered by the radio campaigns was known, and they knew how many likes they had on social media. But there was no measurement of how campaigns were resulting in reaches for the products, enquiries, leads – measures that link to actual company performance. In one case a major TV campaign had resulted in no measurable increase in monthly sales of a particular product.

4. No flexibility – with several products in several different markets aimed at several different age groups as primary target audiences, one factor I noticed above all else that the marketing was very one dimensional. Each brand had a similar split of TV, radio, online and so forth. All very formulaic in it’s approach. There was no flexibility in choosing the medium to suit the customer, other than the obvious of getting media to book for reach and frequency of a particular age group.

These gaps are bad enough in a business where marketing if being done by an untrained person, but in a business with seasoned marketers with over 10 years experience this was horrendous.

The basics of marketing strategy dictate you have to have a plan, you have to know your customer, and even once you’ve chosen a marketing mix, you have to measure to see what is working.

As a business owner, have you audited your marketing department lately? It might be timely to make sure there aren’t gaps like these in the way your business is being marketed. I hope for your sake it isn’t this bad.

Have a great day.